For Moms in Recovery at Christmas: "You Are the Gift"


Easy_Does_It_Mom Mothers working toward eating disorder recovery, increasing your self esteem and appreciating your self worth enriches your child's Christmas. My guest blogger and fellow Conari Press Author, Barbara Joy, tells you how.

Presents or Presence…Which Do Your Children Really Want?

The holidays are once again here. The kids are a year older and most likely there are already too many piles of toys, gadgets and games lying around the house from this past year.  Parents often find themselves buying a present here and there as you plan for the holidays.  The days in December are quickly passing. You’re busier and busier with the many commitments, festivities and planning of the holiday.

You anticipate how much your children are going to love their presents; how happy they are going to be! Ironically, many times as the holidays grow nearer, the stress builds. You notice more misbehavior.

You hear yourself saying, “Why are they like this?” I am planning such a wonderful holiday for them. They are getting everything they want. Why aren’t they happy? Where’s the gratitude? They have so much!”

I encourage you to look a little deeper. Are you giving them something that will be meaningful, even a year from now? Something that will enhance their life? Something that they really want? Are you giving them your self? When is the last time you spent any real, quality time with them?

Do you know that if you slow down and give your children some real present time, that gift will far outlast anything that you can wrap and put under the tree. That is a gift that they will cherish. And you will too. 

Sometimes parents forget or do not fully realize just what a gift you are in your children’s life. They want to be with you. To have you pay attention to them.

Parents….. You are the gift to them just as they are to you.  Consider this holiday:

What would it be like if you gifted each of your children a gift of your Presence everyday?

It doesn't so much matter what you are doing but rather that you are connecting with them without other distractions.  Turn off the TV, cell-phone, and anything else that will take you away from some special time with your child. Maybe it’s taking a walk. Reading together. Playing a game. Decorating cookies. Simply sitting and listening to them. Really listening, without distraction.

Your children simply want to be with you… You are the most important gift that you can give your child this season and everyday from now on.

Perhaps this will be something you will want to bring into the New Year.

A commitment to be Present on a daily basis.

The only cost of being present is your time. When they grow up and come back to visit you for the holidays, I assure you, the memories they share will be about the times that you gave them the gift of your Presence.


Wishing you and your family a wondrous holiday season !

Barbara Joy

Author of Easy Does It, Mom

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


From Joanna:  Please remember, your eating disorder takes you away from the people you love and who love you. Recognize the eating disorder feelings and messages as saboteurs. Let your real self shine forth, even if you need to struggle to clear what dims your light.  Your children will see and feel the love light in your eyes, your smile, your touch, your voice, your words and actions.  Be the light this Christmas.

Let us know your stories of how you step aside from the eating disorder saboteur and let your authentic self be present for the holiday. Every minute you are present is a gift to everyone.





0 # this blog made me feel sad for all the tmylifex2 2011-12-23 21:26
this blog made me feel sad for all the times I have allowed my ED to rob my spirit and my soul, taking precious opportunities from my relationship with my girls that I cannot get back. And not just my ED, but my relentless depression and self focus. That being said, I want to also express my gratitude for this reminder. I have posted recently that I am trying very hard to work on my ED issues and to stop sabbatoging efforts in that direction. I genuinely want to get out of this trap. I think that Christmas has actually provided me with the opportunity to take a breather, permission to enjoy watching my kids look at lights, visit with santa, make sugar cookies and learn to play christmas songs on their keyboard, which they present to me so proudly!
I really have had a better week with my food. I have not counted calories for 4 days straight. (atleast not on paper~but this is good!) Like Jan said on another post, the holidays present us with so much food. I also feel I am "overeating", when in fact, overeating to me is very little to someone else. BUT, I am allowing myself to taste a little bite of this or that. I am giving this as a gift to myself. Yes, I weigh myself daily..I do stay on top of things...
Guys, I want to share something that I think has been monumental for me over the past couple of weeks. REACHING OUT! not just to my therapist, not just on this site, not just with a best friend or support group. I mean reaching out to others that I need support, that I am not too proud to admit my life isn't perfect. If someone asks me if I am ok, I often tell them "no". depending on the circumstance I may share more or less information, but I have begun to take off my know, the one with the fake smile..the one where the mouth is smiling, but the eyes aren't? I want help. I want those close to me to know I need them right now. Not in a "I am gonna suck the life out of you" kind of way, but in the sense that I am tired of doing this alone and I need someone to walk with me kind of way.
I am somewhat anxious for the holidays to be over as I have really used this time to be kind to myself. I am afraid of getting back to the grind...and maybe this post christmas adjustment can be something we can talk about in a few days.
0 # My recoery has brought me so far this paKymL 2011-12-24 19:46
My recoery has brought me so far this past year and I really wanted something simple and meaningful for the holidays. I celebrate the Soltistic while my partner and kids (because of their partners) celebrate Christmas. Over the years I've fallen into the commercial and stress part of a Christmas holiday. This year I decided I couldn't do it anymore. I requested my girls join me for a simple soltistic dinner. We "stain glassed" candles and than ate by their lights. We laughed, remembered holidays of the past, enjoyed my new grandson and just enjoyed being with each other. We exchanged rpesents, but most were things we made for each others. My girls thanked me for thinking of returning to this tradition and I thanked them for taking the time to celebrate with me; I hope they saw the new me that I'm feeling.

So thanks for validating my experience through this post!!
0 # Tracy, I'm so glad that you are finallyshh 2011-12-25 15:27
Tracy, I'm so glad that you are finally starting to allow people to see 'the real you', it's such a huge breakthrough to be able to do that, but one that pays real dividends.

Kym..I just though "wow" when I read about your family soltistic dinner - it is as much as gift from you to them, that you want to share this part of your life with them and involve them, as their presence at the meal was a gift to you (if that makes sense?) I'm so pleased and proud that you are able to give more of yourself to others, and that it is being well-received - it's really heart-warming to read.

When I read this article, I found it re-affirming of my decision not to return to work until my children are both at school. It was a decision made because I valued being there for them, I didn't want them in day care - I wanted to give them my time, my caring, my love - I want them to never have a doubt in their minds how much they are loved, and to look back as they get older and know how much I loved being there for them.
It's a decision that I always felt was right, but one that my ED let me feel ashamed of, I always felt that people judged me and that I was inadequate because I wasn't juggling a career alongside my children, I used to be ashamed to admit to people that I was a stay at home mum, that it was my choice, and that it was what I wanted to do until my youngest turns 5 ....I thought people thought I was either lazy, not v intelligent, or both!

Thesedays I don't care - often people still assume that I must work until I tell the otherwise, but I just feel fortunate now, that we can afford to scrape by financially whilst I enjoy raising my children, and that I have the most wonderful children to share this time with!
0 # Shh, I think your children are lucky toKymL 2011-12-25 19:39
Shh, I think your children are lucky to have you home during the break! I was lucky enough to stay at home until the youngest started school. My years of piano lessons allowed me to teach piano from my home to help financially. There is nothing wrong with being a stay home mom, but not everyone can do it, or want to do it.

Enjoy your kids while they are me, they grow up too fast!!
0 # Being a single mom does not afford me thtracy 2011-12-25 21:02
Being a single mom does not afford me the opportunity for staying home with my girls. It's tough sometimes. Being the only parent, I feel I go from one job to the next. My kids don't often get the best of me because I am so tired from the "day" job. But I do my best. Some days I do better than others. The weekends are "makeup" days to spend time with them that is more meaningful. I am glad you have this awesome opportunity! I would take it if I could :-) Never, ever be ashamed. We are both good moms!
0 # Wasn't quite sure where to put this quesmylifex2 2012-01-06 20:14
Wasn't quite sure where to put this question, but this seems as good a place as anywhere else. I have an almost 11 year old daughter who is quite large for her age and height. I adopted her so I do not know what her biological parents looked like. She is quite the eater and has gained quite a bit of weight lately. I would venture to say she is always thinking of her next meal. I adopted her when she was 7, and I believe she had poor nutrition prior to living with me. I doubt she even got 3 meals a day. Trying to keep all this in mind, I need advice on how to deal with this. It can be quite triggering for me to sit with her at dinner as she displays eating habits that I hated about myself when I was an overweight child. Honestly, sometimes I can't eat when she is eating. I try to fix nutritous meals, and I pack her lunches. I don't know where the weight gain is coming from. I think she sneaks snacks and eats extra when she is not with me. I do not starve her. I have tried to speak to her about "eating healthy". I have never called her fat. Due to the fact that the healthy eating strategy wasn't working (i have tried so hard), I recently have been a little more open with her regarding my concern over her eating habits and that we need to "work together" to eat right. She asked me if I think she is fat. I always tell her no, but recently I feel she needs a reality check and have used the words "i don't think you are fat, but I am concerned over how much weight you are putting on" (25 lbs in one year). I don't know how to get this in check before she hits middle school and all the cruelty starts with the "mean girls". she is very popular now, happy, enjoys life. I don't want to plant a seed in her, and my worst fear is that I am going about this all wrong and she will develop any type of disordered eating. Like I said, I need help with how to deal with this. I know my eating disordered mind clouds my ability to help her. sometimes I feel too critical, sometimes I feel I am neglecting her because I am not firm enough with her diet. We did recently join a gym, so I am hoping to get her moving more (she hates to excercise) and I have her in taekwando. I have thought about taking her to a nutritionist, but wonder if she is too young? I don't know what to do. I just want her to be healthy and to be able to have energy and keep up with her friends. I don't want her to suddenly feel self conscious because she can no longer wear children's cloths and we are shopping in the adult clothing section where the trendy clothes for kids don't exist. Perhaps I am just a crazy, obsessed mom...but I have had family and friends (and her medical doctor) express concern over these same issues. Any advice would be great. Thanks,
0 # still wondering if anyone has any ideasmylifex2 2012-01-10 19:39
still wondering if anyone has any ideas for me...really struggling to do the right thing, and needing to know how to undo any damage I may have already done...
0 # Dear Tracy, Parenting advice is a strpinkjoanna 2012-01-10 20:03
Dear Tracy,

Parenting advice is a stretch here. All I can say is your eating disorder colors your vision and your emotions. It does for anyone who has an eating disorder.

When you know that you can take that knowledge in to consideration before you make judgements or take actions.

Probably what's best is to talk to a child psychologist or family therapist to help you sort out the reality of your daughter's situation and your influence on her.

I'd look for a fresh point of view, a mental health professional removed from your family system and network of friends.
0 # thanks Joanna, the more I attempt to prmylifex2 2012-01-10 20:18
thanks Joanna,
the more I attempt to progress in my healing, the more I realize the impact I may be having on my kids. I haven't really gotten into this topic with my therapist as I always seem to have so much on my plate when I get to my session. I know my daughter has an unhealthy relationship with food. I don't think she knew that until I pointed it am I making things worse? I don't know. I do try to choose my words carefully. But I wonder if I should just let her be who she is and not worry about her size...I know a lot of this is my issue and projections. I do have a coworker who is a nutritionist. I think she would be really honest with me about what direction to take. thank you for helping me think of this.
0 # Sorry Tracy...I didn't see this until noshh 2012-01-11 01:35
Sorry Tracy...I didn't see this until now.

I am starting to go down a similar route with my 9 year old daughter - in the last 6 months she's crossed the line from being at the larger end of the healthy weight range for her age, into the "overweight" section...and I don't really know what to do, I have tried the "healthy eating" tack, but it had little effect, I tried asking her if there were any sports or activities she would like to try but she hasn't come back to me with anything. I've recently moved her off school cooked meals on to packed lunches, because the school insist that they eat most of their meal even if they are full, and I suspect that they give her larger than average portions, as it is natural to dish up portions for a child according to their was actually her suggestion to change, so she seems happy with that.

But I don't want to obsess about her food and I don't want her obsessing with food...we eat to live, not live to eat...and maybe that's just it, maybe I don't encourage her to "live" enough...especially since her sister (who's now 3) was born, as it was difficult to juggle everyone's needs and I suppose hers were attended to less well than they had previously been, and she has developed what I consider to be an unhealthy relationship with electronic gadgetry, in that it is how she chooses to spend most of her spare time. So now that my little one is a bit older, I'm currently trying to get her to broaden her activities a little, and see if that helps.
0 # thanks shh, sounds like we are strugglimylifex2 2012-01-11 06:43
thanks shh,
sounds like we are struggling with similar issues. I also have had concerns about her time in front of the television and with her DSi, phone, and MP3. We joined a gym not too long ago and there are great activities for the kids, so I am hoping to get her moving there. I suspect she has a very sluggish metabolism to start with and will try to remember to ask her doctor about the possibility of thyroid problems. I also pack her lunches so that I have more control over what she eats. (and I don't mean control in a negative way :-)
I get sad because I saw her hopping on and off my scales the other day (much like she must catch me doing), and last night she said her arms were too fat to wear a tank top to tumbling class. But like Joanna said, I need to remember to take my clouded eating disordered vision into check before I make decisions or make comments. Let me know how things are going with your daughter.

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